Chestnuts are in abundance up here in the Northeast of Victoria during Autumn. Not only are they delicious to eat in many different ways, but they are also free to forage in the woodland forests that surround us here in Beechworth. In Spain, farmers would find energy from eating freshly roasted chestnuts whilst they worked out in the countryside. In the Northeast area of Galicia in Spain, it’s quite funny to see people walking around the woods in a ‘bent down’ position looking for and collecting chestnuts!
The end of Summer in Barcelona brings out vendors with large, wood-fired drums serving as mobile ovens for roasted sweet potato and chestnuts – head to the Gothic quarter for amazingly fresh Autumn fare cooked to perfect right in front of you. A hot, cut-open sweet potato drizzled with garlic oil and salt and eaten with a wooden spoon in a square filled with open fires and other people enjoy a similar dish with a glass of wine — gosh! how I miss Spain.
There’s even a half-century old stall at the Mercat de La Boqueria called Bolets Petràs that has wall to wall mushrooms, specialising in all things fungi! Even if you’re not into mushrooms, it is definitely worth visiting just to see how many amazing varieties there are.
My chestnut and mushroom soup is an ode to Barcelona and visits to Spain. It is the simplest of pairings, which for me are often the best. Don’t worry about not being about to forage your own chestnuts, easily able to be found in certain supermarkets or online —> this is the perfect winter warmer.
Bon profit! I hope you enjoy it, Raquel x
Crema de Castañas con Setas (Mushroom and Chestnut Soup)
Yields 2-4 portions
Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Vegan when vegan butter substitute is used
INGREDIENTS FOR SOUP:
- 400g chestnuts Note: I forage and roast, peel and pre-cook my chestnuts – crazy I know – it’s a lot of work for one soup! You however, can find chestnuts in the frozen section of some supermarkets, otherwise you can buy these pre-cooked chestnuts from Cheznuts in North East Victoria – much easier than preparing them yourself!
- 60 g butter (vegan substitute can be used)
- olive oil
- 1/2 medium-size leek, (white part only) thinly sliced
- 1 medium turnip or swede, peeled and diced (about 200 g)
- 1 and 1/2 litre vegetable stock
- 50 ml of cream (coconut cream as vegan substitute)
- Salt and pepper to taste
INGREDIENTS FOR MUSHROOM (SETAS) TOPPING:
- 200g of assorted mushrooms (or choose any mushroom you prefer), sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup dry, cooking Sherry
- 50g butter (vegan substitute can be used)
- a generous pinch of salt
- parsley/extra thyme leaves to garnish (optional)
Part 1. Soup
- Add half the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Add the leek to the hot pan with a good pinch of salt and cook down until soft.
- Add the chestnuts and turnip (or swede) and stir through to coat.
- Add vegetable stock and bring to a high simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave soup for the moment to finish mushrooms below.
Part 2. Mushroom Topping
- Place a frypan over high heat.
- Add olive oil and once it starts to smoke a little, add 2 tbsp of the butter (a little over half) and melt.
- Then add mushrooms and stir, cooking for 1 minute until sizzling.
- Lower heat to medium and add garlic, thyme and salt.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, until mushrooms have softened a little and liquid has reduced.
- Add the sherry and cook down until the sherry has reduced to about half.
- Take off the heat and stir through the remaining butter.
- Carefully transfer the soup from the pot to a high-speed blender. Blend to purée. Note: Not all kitchen blenders are created equal! Once puréed you can choose to put through a fine sieve – removing potential lumps, giving you a silky smooth finish, OR if you’re happy with the consistency out from the blender, you can continue as is.
- Whisk (if soup still in blender, use low speed to mix) cream through soup (or coconut cream, if using instead)
- Taste soup and season to your liking (if you’ve used salted veg stock, you probably won’t need to salt)
- Divide the soup into individual bowls
- Place a large tablespoon of sauteed mushrooms in the centre of each bowl, drizzling a little of the buttery sherry juices over the top.
- Scatter over some parsley/thyme leaves (if using)
Serve with some fresh, crusty bread to dip. Enjoy!
With this soup, whether you’re a white or a red drinker, we have a wine pairing to suit any palate.
Our 2019 Chardonnay will provide just the right amount of oak to compliment the creaminess and the mushrooms.
A medium-bodied red would pair really well and our Côtes du Rhône style 2017 Shiraz or our younger 2018 Shiraz version are both perfect. Alternatively, pair our 2019 Pinot Noir with this soup to bring out the earthiness of the mushrooms.
Want some flavourful adventure? Our 2019 Rosé will surprise you with how well it compliments this dish.
I hope you enjoy! Raquel x